Ian C Esslemont

Ian Cameron Esslemont was born in 1962 in Winnipeg, Canada. He is best-known for his contributions to the Malazan Book of the Fallen epic fantasy series popularised by his friend and collaborator, Steven Erikson (a fellow archaeologist). Esslemont is the co-creator of the Malazan world.

Esslemont and Erikson co-created the Malazan world in 1982 as a backdrop for role-playing games. In 1991 they collaborated on a feature film script set in the same world, entitled Gardens of the Moon. When the script did not sell, Erikson greatly expanded the story and turned it into a novel. The two writers agreed to both write books set in the same world. However, it took a further eight years before Gardens of the Moon was published by Bantam UK and Erikson agreed to write a further nine novels set in the same world. Life and work commitments delayed Esslemont's own entries to the series until 2005, when his first novel, Night of Knives, was published as a limited edition by PS Publishing (a mass-market release by Bantam UK followed in 2007). This book was a prequel to the main Malazan sequence. His second novel, Return of the Crimson Guard, takes place within the main Malazan sequence, shortly after the events of the sixth book, The Bonehunters. It was published by PS Publishing in May 2008 and by Bantam UK later that year. Both Night of Knives and Return of the Crimson Guard have now been bought by Tor for publication in the United States.

"We used a single pad of yellow legal notepaper that we passed back and forth across the table in coffeeshops, taking turns writing dialogue and scenes, etc. It was very rewarding creatively, reacting to what he came up with then passing the pad back for his reaction - like a great game of chess, only we were both winners. We found we could co-write screenplays in that manner but we both knew it wouldn’t work for novel writing so we didn’t even attempt it. Now, we both do have our "own stories to tell" but they are still woven together in that - if the plan can be kept to - they still cross and merge in various ways and at various moments."

Ian C Esslemont books reviewed

Bibliography

Novels of the Malazan Empire

  • Night of Knives (2005)
    Malaz gave a great empire its name, but now this island and its city amount to little more than a sleepy backwater. Until this night. Because this night there is to be a convergence, the once-in-a-generation appearance of a Shadow Moon - an occasion that threatens the good people of Malaz with demon hounds and other, darker things. Also it is prophesied that the Emperor Kellanved will return this night, and there are those who would prevent that happening at any cost. As factions within the Empire draw up battle lines, an ancient presence begins its all-out assault upon the island. Witnesses to these cataclysmic events include a thief called Kiska, and Temper, a war-weary veteran. Although they do not know it, they each have a part to play in a confrontation that will determine not only the fate of Malaz City but also of the world beyond...
  • Return of the Crimson Guard (2008)
    The return of the Crimson Guard could not have come at a worse time for an empire exhausted by warfare and weakened by betrayals and rivalries. Into the seething cauldron of Quon Tali - the Malazan Empire's heartland - they march, and with their return comes the memory of their vow: undying opposition to the Empire. But elements within the Guard's élite, the Avowed, have set their sights on far greater power, while other, more ancient entities are rising up, intent on furthering their own arcane ends. And what of the swordsman called Traveller who, with his companion Ereko, seeks a confrontation from which none have ever returned? As the Guard prepare to wage war, the Empress Laseen's generals and mages grow impatient at what they perceive as her mismanagement of the Empire. Is she losing her grip on power or has she outwitted them all? Could she be using the uprisings to draw out and finally eliminate the last irksome survivors from the days of Kellanved, her illustrious predecessor?
  • Stonewielder (2011)
    Greymane believed he'd outrun his past. With his school for swordsmanship in Falar, he was looking forward to a quiet life, although his colleague Kyle wasn't as enamoured with life outside the mercenary company, the Crimson Guard. However, it seems it is not so easy for an ex-Fist of the Malazan Empire to disappear, especially one under sentence of death from that same Empire. For there is a new Emperor on the throne of Malaz, and he is dwelling on the ignominy that is the Empire's failed invasion of the Korel subcontinent. In the vaults beneath Unta, the Imperial capital, lie the answers to that disaster. And out of this buried history surfaces the name Stonewielder. In Korel, Lord Protector Hiam, commander of the Stormguard, faces the potential annihilation of all that he holds dear. With few remaining men and a crumbling stone wall that has seen better days, he confronts an ancient enemy: the sea-borne Stormriders have returned. Religious war also threatens these lands. The cult of the Blessed Lady, which had stood firm against the Riders for millennia, now seeks to eradicate its rivals. And as chaos looms, a local magistrate investigating a series of murders suddenly finds himself at the heart of a far more ancient and terrifying crime - one that has tainted an entire land...
  • Orb Sceptre Throne (2012)
    The tumult of great powers colliding has passed and the city of Darujhistan and its citizens can at last get on with what matters: trading, bickering, politicking and enjoying all the good things in life. However, not all are ready to leave the past behind. A treasure hunter, digging amongst the burial grounds that surround the city, is about to uncover a hidden crypt. He will open the last of a series of sealed vaults - the one that no other dared touch - and, in so doing, set free something so terrifying that the knowledge of its internment may have been systematically wiped from all history. Fortune hunters are also at work far to the south. When a fragment of Moon's Spawn, once the home of Anomander Rake, Son of Darkness, crashed into the Rivan Sea it created a chain of small islands. Legends and rumours already surround them. The most potent of these is that here is hidden the Throne of Night, claimed by some to be the seat of Mother Dark herself. Either way, all who seek this ancient artefact - renegade mages, hardened mercenaries, even a Malazan army deserter - believe it will bestow unlimited power upon the eventual possessor. The stakes are high, greed is rife, betrayal inevitable, and murder and chaos lie in wait...
  • Blood and Bone (2012)
    In the western sky the bright emerald banner of the Visitor descends like a portent of annihilation. On the continent of Jacuruku, the Thaumaturgs have mounted another expedition in a bid to tame the neighbouring wild jungle. Yet this is no normal wilderness. It is called Himatan, and it is said to be half of the spirit-realm and half of the earth. And it is said to be ruled by a powerful entity who some name the Queen of Witches and some a goddess: the ancient Ardata. Saeng grew up knowing only the rule of the magus Thaumaturgs - but it was the voices from that land's forgotten past that she listened to. And when her rulers launch their invasion of this jungle, those voices send her and her brother on a desperate mission. To the south, the desert tribes are united by the arrival of a foreign warleader, a veteran commander in battered ashen mail men call the Grey Ghost. This warrior leads these tribes on a raid unlike any other, deep into the heart of Thaumaturg lands. While word comes to K'azz, and mercenary company the Crimson Guard, of a contract in Jacuruku. And their employer? Could it be the goddess herself...
  • Assail (2014)
    Tens of thousands of years of ice is melting, and the land of Assail, long a byword for menace and inaccessibility, is at last yielding its secrets. Tales of gold discovered in the region's north circulate in every waterfront dive and sailor's tavern and now adventurers and fortune-seekers have set sail in search of riches. And all they have to guide them are legends and garbled tales of the dangers that lie in wait - hostile coasts, fields of ice, impassable barriers and strange, terrifying creatures. But all accounts concur that the people of the north meet all trespassers with the sword - and should you make it, beyond are rumoured to lurk Elder monsters out of history's very beginnings. Into this turmoil ventures the mercenary company, the Crimson Guard. Not drawn by contract, but by the promise of answers: answers that Shimmer, second in command, feels should not be sought. Also heading north, as part of an uneasy alliance of Malazan fortune-hunters and Letherii soldiery, comes the bard Fisher kel Tath. With him is a Tiste Andii who was found washed ashore and cannot remember his past and yet commands far more power than he really should. It is also rumoured that a warrior, bearer of a sword that slays gods and who once fought for the Malazans, is also journeying that way. But far to the south, a woman patiently guards the shore. She awaits both allies and enemies. She is Silverfox, newly incarnate Summoner of the undying army of the T'lan Imass, and she will do anything to stop the renewal of an ages-old crusade that could lay waste to the entire continent and beyond.